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October 26, 2007

The Little British Emigration Map of the Republic of Texas
with Big Pretensions Reaching to Oregon Territory

103. [MAP]. IKIN, A[rthur]. Map of Texas [below neat line] Drawn by A. Ikin. | Sherwood & Co. Paternoster Row. | J. & C. Walker Litho.[London, 1841]. Lithograph map, original pink outline coloring. Neat line to neat line: 20.5 x 23.5 cm. Creased where formerly folded, light staining at lower left, left margin strengthened, small bit of neat line at lower left in facsimile (barely touching line border), overall very good.

            First edition of a rare and interesting British map of the Republic of Texas. Phillips, America, p. 843. The present map was published with Arthur Ikin’s book, Texas: Its History, Topography, Agriculture, Commerce, and General Statistics. To Which is Added, A Copy of the Treaty of Commerce Entered into by the Republic of Texas and Great Britain. Designed for the Use of the British Merchant, and as a Guide to Emigrants (London, 1840). For more on Ikin’s book, see for example: Fifty Texas Rarities 23, Howes I6, Vandale, and Streeter 1384 (giving three locations in Texas, two of which lack the map).

            This map is a complementary but very different emigration map from Arrowsmith’s 1841 Map of Texas (q.v.), which appeared in William Kennedy’s book, The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas (London, 1841) and elsewhere. Ikin’s map is a rather austere little production, more notable for what it tells us about Texas’s (and Great Britain’s) claims about the Republic’s territory, rather than for presenting any cartographical advancement in the delineation of Texas’s boundaries. As might be expected, the map shows the south boundary of Texas at the Rio Grande, rather than the Nueces. Ikin’s map corresponds with Texas’s border claims. These include a western border coming up the Rio Grande beyond present El Paso to the area north of Taos and into present-day Colorado, continuing north and west of what is labeled Oregon Tery., with the boundary between Oregon Territory and Texas being the Arkansas River. Just how far the panhandle actually reaches is unclear, since the pink bounded corridor is left open at the neat line. At the edge of the northwest corner of the map is the legend: “The Boundary here runs to a point in the Lat 42°.” The British cartographer has ambitiously and ambiguously attempted to cater to the aspirations of both Texas and Great Britain. Other features include the Cross Timbers, indicated by a swath of trees, and roads such as “U.S. Traders Road” and “Old Spanish Road.”

            Englishman Arthur Ikin was an author, diplomat, land speculator, an “indefatigable propagandist” for Texas, and an advocate of a British colony there (Thomas W. Cutrer, The English Texans, San Antonio: Institute of Texan Cultures, pp. 31-34). He and his father, Jonathan Ikin, purchased a tract of land in Texas in 1836, when Texas land prices were very low (about seven shillings an acre). The Ikins incorporated the Texas Trading, Mining, and Emigrating Company and were given a deadline by the Texas Congress to introduce emigrants to Texas. Problems arose, including the Ikins’ failure to confirm that they actually owned the land they supposedly purchased from Judge John Woodward and sold to their colonists. Ikin’s highly disgruntled English colonists were stranded at Galveston in the winter of 1839-1840 and never settled permanently in Texas. Their dismal reports and the threat of Mexico’s intended invasion of Texas caused those colonists still in Great Britain and waiting to come to Texas to renege.

            In addition to his activities as Texas colonizer, Ikin served as a diplomat between Texas and London, which seems to have meshed quite well with his colonial and entrepreneurial interests. In January of 1841, he delivered to the Republic of Texas government two treaties negotiated between Texas and Great Britain and one treaty between Texas and the Netherlands. Appointed consul of the Republic of Texas for London on February 4, 1841, Ikin was entrusted with the return of the treaties to England, but after his arrival in England in May, 1841, England refused to accept the ratification of the commercial treaty without the slave trade treaty. As Streeter (1384) notes, it seems likely that Ikin’s book and this map were “published as a step in the promotion of the interests of Arthur Ikin and his father Jonathan in projects for colonization of Texas.... That the two Ikins were still interested in Texas lands as late as February 17, 1845, is shown by a rather severe criticism of their project in a letter of that date of Elliot, the British representative in Texas.” Ironically, William Kennedy was a successor to Ikin’s diplomatic and colonization ventures. Immediately after the ratification of Britain’s treaty with Mexico, Kennedy was made consul general and ordered to call upon Ikin for all “books, papers and property of the Consulate at London” (Secretary of State to Kennedy, February 28, 1842, Consular Correspondence, 1838-1844, Archives, State Library), which he reportedly performed with zeal and energy. Kennedy’s grander book on Texas, with its large map of Texas by Arrowsmith (q.v.), did succeed in sparking interest in Texas. In February 1842, Kennedy, William Pringle, and others obtained a contract to settle 600 families south of the Nueces River, but, like his predecessor Ikin’s, Kennedy’s proposed British colony was never settled. See also: Thomas W. Cutrer, The English Texans, San Antonio: Institute of Texan Cultures, 1985, pp. 31-34. Handbook of Texas Online (Arthur Ikin).

            According to Tooley, the British firm of John and Charles Walker, who lithographed the map, were prolific beginning around 1820. They created their own maps in addition to reproducing the maps of others, such as the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. The English firm of Sherwood was active with several partners until 1849, producing primarily maps of London and Great Britain, as well as geographies and atlases.

            A copy of Ikin’s map with the book sold for $36,800 in our Auction 8 in 1999, and subsequently fetched $29,000 at Sotheby’s in 2004. ($3,500-6,500)

Sold. Hammer: $6,000.00; Price Realized: $7,050.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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